Thank you Madam President. I will be brief, but in response to my colleague from the Russian Federation, I’d say just a few things.
First, the United States has constantly called for de-escalation and urged restraint. That has been our consistent policy. Our consistent statements have made clear that military force is not the answer, and we have commended the Ukrainians, frankly, for enduring more than probably any country in the United Nations could or would endure without using force. So there have been no shortage of efforts at diplomacy.
Second point: it is not the United States that has escalated this situation. It is the Russian Federation.
Third, the reason – while we would like to place our faith in talks with the Russian Federation and the European Union, and Ukraine – it is hard to reconcile the behavior of the Russian Federation; the propaganda of the Russian Federation; the military actions of the Russian Federation, which range from the massing of 40,000 troops on the border to the subversive activities inside Ukraine – it is hard to reconcile those acts with this appeal for diplomacy and de-escalation – an appeal that we wish were, in fact, sincere.
Fourth, what is happening in eastern cities – a few times the representative of the Russian Federation has described as protests and demonstrations – I would refer back to my French colleague’s notation that these claims are claims that are rooted in some idea that the Internet does not exist, that people cannot see for themselves that these are not protests; these are not demonstrations; these are professional forces carrying weapons – Russian-made weapons, as it happens – carrying out sophisticated, coordinated military operations across a substantial number of eastern Ukrainian cities. These are not demonstrations; these are not protests. These are military operations.
Finally, the credibility of the Russian Federation has been gravely undermined. That said, we remain eager and wiling to talk about how to de-escalate the situation. It will require the Russian Federation to pull back its forces, which are ominously stationed and massed at the eastern Ukrainian border. It will require the Russian Federation to work to de-escalate the situation in light of the armed takeover of these buildings. And if, in fact, the Russian Federation is interested in peace; is interested in upholding its role as an enforcer of international peace and security, then it will engage quickly and with a wholly different degree of conviction, urgency, and truth than it has up to this point.
Thank you, Madam President
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